Hardball Retrospective – What Might Have Been – The “Original” 1969 Reds

In “Hardball Retrospective: Evaluating Scouting and Development Outcomes for the Modern-Era Franchises”, I placed every ballplayer in the modern era (from 1901-present) on their original team. I calculated revised standings for every season based entirely on the performance of each team’s “original” players. I discuss every team’s “original” players and seasons at length along with organizational performance with respect to the Amateur Draft (or First-Year Player Draft), amateur free agent signings and other methods of player acquisition.  Season standings, WAR and Win Shares totals for the “original” teams are compared against the “actual” team results to assess each franchise’s scouting, development and general management skills.

Expanding on my research for the book, the following series of articles will reveal the teams with the biggest single-season difference in the WAR and Win Shares for the “Original” vs. “Actual” rosters for every Major League organization. “Hardball Retrospective” is available in digital format on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, GooglePlay, iTunes and KoboBooks. The paperback edition is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and CreateSpace. Supplemental Statistics, Charts and Graphs along with a discussion forum are offered at TuataraSoftware.com.

Don Daglow (Intellivision World Series Major League Baseball, Earl Weaver Baseball, Tony LaRussa Baseball) contributed the foreword for Hardball Retrospective. The foreword and preview of my book are accessible here.

Terminology

OWAR – Wins Above Replacement for players on “original” teams

OWS – Win Shares for players on “original” teams

OPW% – Pythagorean Won-Loss record for the “original” teams

AWAR – Wins Above Replacement for players on “actual” teams

AWS – Win Shares for players on “actual” teams

APW% – Pythagorean Won-Loss record for the “actual” teams

Assessment

The 1969 Cincinnati Reds 

OWAR: 59.0     OWS: 355     OPW%: .619     (100-62)

AWAR: 37.4      AWS: 267     APW%: .549     (89-73)

WARdiff: 21.6                        WSdiff: 88  

The “Original” 1969 Reds outdistanced the Giants by a fourteen-game margin to secure the National League pennant. Pete Rose (.348/16/82) aka “Charlie Hustle” led the NL with 120 runs scored and registered personal-bests in home runs, RBI, batting average, OBP (.428) and SLG (.512). “The Toy Cannon”, center fielder Jim Wynn swatted 33 big-flies, nabbed 23 bags and tallied 113 runs. Completing the outfield trio with 30+ Win Shares, Frank “The Judge” Robinson crushed 32 long balls and knocked in 100 baserunners while posting a .308 BA.

The Cincinnati infield, with the exception of second-sacker Tommy Helms, produced 23+ Win Shares each. Tony “Big Dog” Perez (.294/37/122) manned the hot corner while the “Big Bopper”, Lee May (.278/38/110) earned his first All-Star assignment over at first base. Leo “Mr. Automatic” Cardenas (.280/10/70) provided a steady bat at shortstop. “Little General” Johnny Bench (.293/26/90) delivered an encore to his 1968 NL Rookie of the Year campaign. The Reds’ reserves featured the fleet-footed Cesar Tovar (.288, 45 SB) and Tommy Harper (73 SB) along with seven-time Gold Glove Award-winning center fielder Curt Flood.

Bench ranked second behind Yogi Berra at catcher in the “The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract” top 100 player rankings. “Original” Reds teammates enumerated in the “NBJHBA” top 100 rankings include Frank Robinson (3rd-RF), Pete Rose (5th-RF), Jim Wynn (10th-CF), Tony Perez (13th-1B), Vada Pinson (18th-CF), Curt Flood (36th-CF), Lee May (47th-1B), Leo Cardenas (50th-SS), Johnny Edwards (53rd-C), Tommy Harper (56th-LF), Cookie Rojas (69th-2B), Cesar Tovar (79th-CF), Tony Gonzalez (82nd-CF) and Tommy Helms (99th-2B).

  Original 1969 Reds                                                                     Actual 1969 Reds

LINEUP POS OWAR OWS LINEUP POS AWAR AWS
Frank Robinson LF/RF 5.31 31.84 Alex Johnson LF 2.86 18.84
Jim Wynn CF 7.36 36.09 Bobby Tolan CF 4.43 26.52
Pete Rose RF 4.83 36.77 Pete Rose RF 4.83 36.77
Lee May 1B 3.31 25.11 Lee May 1B 3.31 25.11
Tommy Helms 2B -0.93 5.57 Tommy Helms 2B -0.93 5.57
Leo Cardenas SS 2.81 23.74 Woody Woodward SS 0.45 5.83
Tony Perez 3B 5.77 30.41 Tony Perez 3B 5.77 30.41
Johnny Bench C 5.69 29.93 Johnny Bench C 5.69 29.93
BENCH POS OWAR OWS BENCH POS AWAR AWS
Cesar Tovar CF 3.37 20.31 Jimmy Stewart LF -0.1 4.89
Curt Flood CF 2.14 19.71 Ted Savage LF 0.29 3.27
Tony Gonzalez CF 1.89 17.19 Pat Corrales C 0.28 2.82
Tommy Harper 3B 1.78 16.64 Chico Ruiz 2B 0.03 2.68
Art Shamsky RF 2.61 16.22 Darrel Chaney SS -1.23 1.8
Johnny Edwards C 1.94 14.95 Jim Beauchamp LF -0.06 0.99
Vada Pinson RF 0.11 10.97 Fred Whitfield 1B -0.24 0.36
Brant Alyea LF 0.62 6.52 Danny Breeden C -0.1 0.08
Joe Azcue C 0.61 6.49 Bernie Carbo -0.04 0
Don Pavletich C 0.5 4.96 Mike de la Hoz -0.01 0
Chico Ruiz 2B 0.03 2.68 Clyde Mashore -0.01 0
Cookie Rojas 2B -0.66 2.56
Vic Davalillo RF -0.21 2.26
Gus Gil 3B -0.64 1.8
Darrel Chaney SS -1.23 1.8
Len Boehmer 1B -0.91 0.58
Fred Kendall C -0.26 0.31
Bernie Carbo -0.04 0
Clyde Mashore -0.01 0

Claude Osteen (20-15, 2.66) established career-highs with 321 innings pitched, 41 starts, 16 complete games, 7 shutouts and 183 strikeouts. Mike Cuellar (23-8, 2.38) claimed the Cy Young Award and fashioned a personal-best 1.005 WHIP. Jim Maloney contributed a 12-5 mark with a 2.77 ERA as a member of the “Original” and “Actual” Cincinnati rotations. Diego Segui tallied 12 wins and 12 saves to anchor the bullpen. Wayne Granger saved 27 contests in his sophomore season for the “Actuals” and topped the Senior Circuit with 90 appearances.

  Original 1969 Reds                                                                   Actual 1969 Reds

ROTATION POS OWAR OWS ROTATION POS OWAR OWS
Claude Osteen SP 5.09 24.65 Jim Maloney SP 3.93 14.63
Mike Cuellar SP 4.91 24.57 Jim Merritt SP 0.72 10.63
Jim Maloney SP 3.93 14.63 Gary Nolan SP 1.71 7.02
Casey Cox SP 2.14 12.03 George Culver SP -0.37 3.64
Gary Nolan SP 1.71 7.02 Gerry Arrigo SP -0.29 2.99
BULLPEN POS OWAR OWS BULLPEN POS OWAR OWS
Diego Segui RP 1.38 11.3 Wayne Granger RP 1.32 14.75
Dan McGinn RP -0.04 6.86 Clay Carroll RP 1.04 10.09
Jack Baldschun RP -0.3 3.57 Pedro Ramos RP -0.6 1.6
Billy McCool RP -0.04 2.88 John Noriega RP -0.19 0
John Noriega RP -0.19 0 Camilo Pascual SW -0.31 0
Mel Queen SP 0.37 1.17 Tony Cloninger SP -2.26 2.86
Sammy Ellis SP -0.33 0 Mel Queen SP 0.37 1.17
Jose Pena RP -0.68 0 Jack Fisher SP -1.91 0.72
Al Jackson RP -0.23 0.54
Dennis Ribant RP -0.05 0.49
Jose Pena RP -0.68 0
Bill Short RP -0.26 0

 

Notable Transactions

Frank Robinson

December 9, 1965: Traded by the Cincinnati Reds to the Baltimore Orioles for Jack Baldschun, Milt Pappas and Dick Simpson.

Jim Wynn

November 26, 1962: Drafted by the Houston Colt .45’s from the Cincinnati Reds in the 1962 first-year draft.

Leo Cardenas

November 21, 1968: Traded by the Cincinnati Reds to the Minnesota Twins for Jim Merritt.

Cesar Tovar

December 4, 1964: Traded by the Cincinnati Reds to the Minnesota Twins for Gerry Arrigo.

Claude Osteen

September 16, 1961: Traded by the Cincinnati Reds to the Washington Senators for a player to be named later and cash. The Washington Senators sent Dave Sisler (November 28, 1961) to the Cincinnati Reds to complete the trade.

December 4, 1964: Traded by the Washington Senators with John Kennedy and $100,000 to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a player to be named later, Frank Howard, Ken McMullen, Phil Ortega and Pete Richert. The Los Angeles Dodgers sent Dick Nen (December 15, 1964) to the Washington Senators to complete the trade.

Mike Cuellar 

Before 1963 Season: Sent from the Cincinnati Reds to the Cleveland Indians in an unknown transaction.

Before 1964 Season: Obtained by Jacksonville (International) from the Cleveland Indians as part of a minor league working agreement.

Before 1964 Season: Returned to the St. Louis Cardinals by Jacksonville (International) after expiration of minor league working agreement.

June 15, 1965: Traded by the St. Louis Cardinals with Ron Taylor to the Houston Astros for Chuck Taylor and Hal Woodeshick.

December 4, 1968: Traded by the Houston Astros with Tom Johnson (minors) and Enzo Hernandez to the Baltimore Orioles for John Mason (minors) and Curt Blefary.

Honorable Mention

The 1907 Cincinnati Reds 

OWAR: 39.9     OWS: 275     OPW%: .527     (81-73)

AWAR: 30.3       AWS: 198      APW%: .431    (66-87)

WARdiff: 9.6                        WSdiff: 77

Cincinnati ended the 1907 season in a fourth-place tie with Philadelphia but finished only six games behind the front-running Cubbies. “Wahoo” Sam Crawford (.323/4/81) laced 34 doubles, 17 triples and led the circuit with 102 runs scored. Orval Overall (23-7, 1.68) flummoxed opposing batsmen, posting a 1.006 WHIP with a League-high 8 shutouts. “Long” Bob Ewing compiled 17 victories with a 1.73 ERA and a WHIP of 1.094 while completing 32 of 37 starts. Patsy Dougherty swiped 33 bags while Mike Mitchell rapped 12 three-base hits in his rookie campaign. Harry Steinfeldt drilled 25 two-baggers and Socks Seybold drove in 92 baserunners.

On Deck

What Might Have Been – The “Original” 1997 Red Sox

References and Resources

Baseball America – Executive Database

Baseball-Reference

James, Bill. The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. New York, NY.: The Free Press, 2001. Print.

James, Bill, with Jim Henzler. Win Shares. Morton Grove, Ill.: STATS, 2002. Print.

Retrosheet – Transactions Database

The information used here was obtained free of charge from and is copyrighted by Retrosheet. Interested parties may contact Retrosheet at “www.retrosheet.org”.

Seamheads – Baseball Gauge

Sean Lahman Baseball Archive



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Derek Bain is a New Jersey native with a passion for baseball, statistics, computers and video games. He has written a number of articles for Fangraphs and Seamheads, and enjoys spending quality time with his family.

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